I’m a native of Detroit, Michigan, and the co-founder of People 4 People Productions. The company was formed along with my late brother, David Saunders, Sr. in 1991.
I started my career in the Media Industry in 1986 as a graduate student in the innovative M.A. Media Studies Program at The New School For Social Research. It was there that I learned how to integrate media history, theory, research, and management with production work in film, audio, video, and digital media.
When I joined the New York City Department of Education as an English Arts/Video Production Teacher at JHS #22 in 1986, I witnessed the role drama played in student learning and in shaping attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors. Youth took ownership of their learning when they were inspired by positive messaging, purpose, and belief in their accelerated learning potential. Blending film studies and video technology projects with purpose caused them to perform beyond expectation.
But it was at Rutgers University as a Film Studies Lecturer throughout the ’90s, that I learned how to use a rich mix of film studies, history, 70’s pop culture, and current events to impact student learning in powerful ways. I’d stir their intellectual and creative juices and witness students become ‘change agents'.
In 1999, I was invited to teach at New York City’s High School Of Art & Design where my ‘Meet The Documentarian Lecture Series’ served as further proof that drama, the most powerful tool known whether delivered in-person or through films could be used to change hearts and minds and accelerate student learning.
When challenged in 2002 to teach underserved students at the High School of Graphic Communication Arts, I delivered in 6-weeks of intensive study, the tools students needed to produce the award-winning film. 'Who’s To Blame'. It reached 2.5 million homes in the United States and aired in 14 countries for 2 weeks during ‘International Education Week’.
From 1986 until 2009, I also worked with the artist agency Young Audiences/NY, various community organizations and private schools, independent artists, educators, and community organizers to bring Film Media Literacy to thousands of youths, many of whom have since then entered the Media Industry as young media industry professionals.
Today, to help build a better world and a better future for our children, I'm 'letting the screen help' and using it to serve us to the best advantage. And while I never planned to become an educator but stumbled into teaching out of pure luck, I'm grateful for it and simply love it.